At 3 a.m., in the heart of São Paulo, on the 9th floor with a freeway where traffic never seems to stop below, I heard a rooster crowing.
Where on earth was it?
This city is crazy.
I love it.
And it’s about to get crazier with Carnival, Brazil’s yearly, world-famous and much-awaited bacchanal.
Carnival is one of these love-it-or-hate-it events. It does make travelling around Brazil tricky—the country grinds to a half, accommodation prices skyrocket, there are “no vacancy” signs everywhere and long queues at the supermarket because everybody is stocking up on beer. Carnival itself is complete madness is big cities because of the blocos de rua, giant parties taking over the streets. But it’s also one of the most fun, colourful, inclusive and unique events around the world—fuck yeah, I’m doing Carnival!
I had to get ready for it.
First, I bought um mouse but guess what—the touchpad started working again as soon as I plugged in the new made-in-China device. Never mind, it’s good to have a small mouse, just in case.
Then I went to get a haircut in a funky salon on Rua Augusta.
“Huh… coffee, please.”
Then I was introduced to my stylist and even though we’ve never met before we did the usual big Brazilian hug routine.
“Let me wash your hair… head massage?”
“Do you want a back massage as well?”
Look, dude, I’m a married woman and I have the feeling you’re not that into me because the button on your shirt says “Nosso Orgulho de ser LGBT+” but…
Wait. Feng totally got a scalp massage last year when he got a haircut in São Paulo. I have a picture, I can prove it!
Oh, yeah, massage.
An hour later, we hugged again and I was feeling great with my shorter, funkier hair.
Now all I needed was fantasia, i.e. Carnival gear. I went to Centro, stopped by the Mercado Municipal São Paulo I had never checked out before and shopped around at the street market for Carnival basics—tiara, cropped top and saia com tule, i.e. tull skirt. Typical themes are mermaid, superhero, beer brands, pirate, lifeguard or police and I hesitated for a while between several options.
I found what I was looking for.
At night, I went for my first bloco on Baixo Augusta, one of the epicentres of Carnival and the hippest street around Paulista. The party was just getting started, with some people dressed for Carnival and plenty more still in business casual as if they had gone straight from office life to Carnival—on second thought, they probably did.
Time to get some rest. The real party starts tomorrow.